A Tale of Sibling Differences – Underground Secrets

Post time7-02-2021, 16:26

Dai had always envied his elder brother, Huw. He had envied Huw’s luck in getting a well paid job with Evans, Evans and Davies. He had envied Huw’s huge house up in the Brecon Beacons, so different from the terraced miner’s cottage in Glynneath where Dai livedi, alone for the last five years since their father had died with pneumoconiosis and their grief stricken mother had hung herself in a disused and boarded up chapel. Most of all Dai envied Elizabeth, Huw's wife; slim, athletic, from a wealthy family and she even enjoyed potholing. Both Dai and Huw had been keen cavers ever since an expedition organised by the local youth club some thirteen years ago. Before Huw had got married he and Dai had gone potholing together at least once a month and even now he looked forward to the increasingly rare occasions when Huw and Elizabeth invited him to join them; expeditions made all the more enjoyable by the opportunity to watch Elizabeth's shapely arse wriggling through a tight spot in front of him in a close fitting wetsuit.

But now Huw was dead.

PC Jones had brought the news to Dai while he was at work at the recycling centre, sitting him. down with a cup of tea in the portacabin before gently breaking the news. Even then he was a bit surprised that Huw had died in a caving accident, but then they had always known the risks. However as more details emerged whole incident seemed very strange to Dai. The rest of the family, and the police, who weren’t cavers just accepted it as a sad but not unexpected accident if people will do such dangerous sports. For most of them, brought up amongst the collieries where nearly every male worked underground and accidents did happen, though increasingly rarely in the latter years before the pits finally closed, it was just one of those things. Though few of the older men could understand why anyone should go underground for fun.

Dai could not understand why they should have gone caving wearing just shorts and, in Elizabeths case, presumably a t-shirt. Even though it was a warm sunny day above ground it would only be 11 degrees underground and Ogof Gwaindynngwlyb was a particularly wet cave where it was necessary to dive through a very tight horizontal slot in a sump, lined top and bottom with jagged rocks, to enter further than 20 metres. The fact that the Cave Rescue Team had been involved certainly implied that the accident had occurred in or beyond the sump. Even thick wet suits often snagged and tore when visiting cavers scrambled through the sump as, though shallow, it was quite wide so it was important to select the correct route through. But both Huw and Elizabeth knew that particular cave system so well, being local, that they surely wouldn’t have dived there, or indeed anywhere, without at least a wet suit.

He knew he would meet his brother's widow at the funeral but realised it would be insensitive to quiz her about the accident then, yet hoped she might reveal something to him to explain Huw's death. Though the house and everything had all been bought with his brother's money he understood that Elizabeth’s parents, who now lived in Monaco, were very wealthy and yet, though he kept trying to suppress his suspicions, the whole incident did seem very strange.

At the funeral he tried to casually approach Elizabeth several times but she always managed to avoid him. Indeed she seemed to shun all company and people, even her own family, largely ignored her. He thought she looked very pale and her face looked a bit thinner than he remembered. This combined with the elaborate but bulky, almost Victorian, black dress she had chosen to wear made her look older than her twenty six years. At the wake after the service she seemed unsteady on her feet and then unexpectedly he found her next to him, grabbing his arm for support as she headed for a chair. "Dai!" she said weakly "I need a drink, be a dear and get me another double gin with a dash of tonic."

Dai's first thought was that she stank! He realised that she was probably so pissed that she had shat herself, yet out of pity fetched her another drink. Aunt Angharad then collared Dai and tearfully commiserated with him and warned him not to carry on with any more of this silly, dangerous going into caves up in the mountains as she didn't want to lose both her nephews. When Dai looked round again later there was no sign of Elizabeth.

After a few weeks everyone seemed to have forgotten about his brother's death and yet the more Dai thought about it the less he could understand what might really have happened. Huw had drowned, his body was grazed and his shorts torn but the cause of death was, apparently, drowning. However when he got a copy of the full report from the coroner's office it did mention that a small amount alcohol was found in his blood, but was not considered a contributory factor. Not a contributory factor! Huw must have been mad to enter Ogof Gwaindynngwlyb after drinking, and surely Elizabeth must have had more sense. Dai tried to put it all behind him but the manner of his brother's death preyed on his mind and eventually he decided to see if Elizabeth had remained at their house in the Beacons, though he thought she would almost certainly have joined her parents in Monaco as he doubted she had any close friends in South Wales … unless perhaps a relationship with a VERY close friend had tempted her to arrange the "accident"?

Dai had only twice ever been invited to Tyllwm Fawr but had been very impressed by the lonely rambling mansion which Huw had been gradually restoring. As he approached it the windows looked dark and lifeless, then he realised that the shutters inside the windows had been closed so it seemed as if Elizabeth had indeed left. But then he saw her Mercedes convertible in an open fronted outbuilding and as the roof was folded down he though that perhaps she was indeed still there.

Dai was about to pull a rusty chain attached to a bell on a spring above the heavy oak door when he noticed a somewhat incongruous intercom and bell push to the side. He pressed the button and waited. He was about to try pulling the chain instead when he heard Elizabeth's quiet voice on the intercom "Who is it."

On hearing that it was Dai she replied "I was wondering when you were going to come, I thought perhaps you were going to leave until it was it too late." There was a pause "Come in, just twist the handle then push hard, the front door's not locked. I'm upstairs, second door on the right."

The house seemed dark and quiet compared with his previous visits and then he had only been into the lounge and kitchen. With all the windows closed and shuttered the hall and stairway smelt must musty, damp and distinctly unpleasant. With little light it was difficult to see on the upstairs landing with its dark oak panelling. As instructed Dai opened what he judged to be the second door on the right but the room was in darkness so he had already started closing it again when the somewhat dim light was switched on.

"Dai?" queried a weak voice as he looked round the room in astonishment. His gaze was first drawn to a snooker cue rack fixed to the wall just inside the door, but instead of cues it held a selection of canes and a couple of bullwhips with their ends trailing across the floor. The walls were a combination of oak panelling and large full height mirrors. There was untidy jumble of caving equipment in one corner and empty gin and wine bottles littered the floor, but his attention was drawn to an inconguous heavily built rectangular frame of lighter coloured oak to which was attached various iron rings, chains and manacles. And the room stank so badly he could hardly breathe.

"I'm over here" came Elizabeth's weak voice from the four poster bed to his left. Dai turned and stared at her propped up in bed covered by a duvet so filthy that he couldn’t tell what colour or pattern it might originally have been. Her face was even thinner and paler than it had been at the funeral yet she smiled entrancingly at him so he had a momentary compulsion to take her in his arms, then remembering why he was there felt a desire to roughly grab her and lash her to the frame and whip the truth out of her.

Instead he flatly said "You killed him, didn’t you?"

Even so he was shocked when she replied "Yes, I suppose so."

"What do you mean? Why?" Dai stammered, taken by surprise at her calm admission.

"Because" she paused, looking uncertain and scared "Because he's fucking killed me."

With an effort she leaned forward and threw the duvet aside to reveal her slender naked body lying on a sodden brown stained sheet. Staring at her belly Dai stammered "You, you’re pregnant" before moving his gaze up to the pert breasts he had long dreamed of getting a glimpse of, though her breasts, hip ribs and hips appeared to be slightly scarred with several healing cuts.

She reached a slender arm out towards him saying "We were just messing about after sharing a picnic and a bottle of wine" Confused Dai moved towards her and she grabbed his left wrist tight “Sit on me” she entreated.

"Oh my God! I must get you a doctor" Dai answered trying to pull away, realising she had lost her mind.

"Sit on my belly!" she screamed pulling him onto her with surprising strength so he fell forward across her naked body as she lifted and spread her knees. As he fell across her his right elbow landed on her swollen belly which totally collapsed beneath his weight as a squelching fart came from her arse and a thick brown bloody liquid gushed across the sheets between her spread thighs.

Dai stared in astonishment at her now hollow belly below her bony rib cage. As her agonised screams gave way to crying he took her astonishingly light body in his arms and lifted her away from the stinking mess and placed her gently on the other side of the bed. Then, looking down, he realised the front of his shirt and jeans were now soaked in her bloody mess. Sprawled on her back Elizabeth spread out her unnaturaly pale, thin arms and then drew her wasted but still shapely legs apart and, between sobs muttered "Fuck me" then, louder and more desperately “Fuck me, before it's too late!”

Even though he thought he should be pitying the poor girl Dai had a rigid hard on yet couldn't really believe that this was Elizabeth, whom he had secretly fantasised about so often in the past.

Yet he still needed to know, "How did Huw die?"

"We were just messing about" Elizabeth repeated. "We'd had a few tumblers of wine and he wanted to shag me there on the open hillside. I said someone would probably see us, there were a lot of walkers around being a fine sunny day. Huw said he didn't care. I told him to find somewhere more secluded."

She paused for breath "Open that bottle for me please, darling" she entreated pointing to a bottle of Pinot Blanc on the floor. As Dai obediently opened it with the corkscrew from her bedside table she continued "Huw suggested Gwaindynngwlyb Cave. It was a very hot day and I agreed, it would be pleasantly cool in the cave entrance and it was only fifteen minutes away. I was hot and thirsty when we got there, Huw took off his shirt and opened another bottle of wine but I grabbed it off him and drank half of it straight from the bottle as he undid my belt and pulled down my shorts." She grabbed the bottle Dai had just opened and gulped from it, dribbling wine down her chin to drip onto her chest.

"I lay down and spread my legs for him to screw me" she said , spreading her legs wider as she spoke so more stinking shitty liquid soaked into the bedsheet between them. "He just teased me, then said he'd screw me the far side of the sump. I said he must be mad, if I tried crawling through the sump without a wet suit it would rip my tits off! He said if I didn't at least try he wouldn't fuck me, and would make me walk home in just my cropped t-shirt without my shorts or panties. I just laughed, while he picked up a long straight stick, to help me find my way he said. Oh Christ! I need some more codeine Dai" she interrupted.

"You shouldn't mix codeine with alcohol" Dai warned her.

"What the fuck does it matter now!" Elizabeth snarled as she grabbed the packet from him, took out four of the tiny white tablets and washed them down with more wine before handing the bottle back to him "Have a drink, you need one too."

She continued "I took off my t-shirt and trainers and entered the water stark naked, I shrieked at the cold but Huw just handed me the bottle for another swig of wine. Huw took off his boots and socks and waded into the water next to me, mocking me, saying how delightfully warm it was and slashing at my buttocks with that bloody stick he'd picked up."

"Why was he being so cruel " Dai started to ask before remembering the "toys" with which the bedroom was decorated. As he wondered about his brother's secret life Dai's cock hardened again, perhaps Elizabeth noticed the swelling in his trousers for she tugged at his soiled shirt, motioning for him to remove it.

While Dai pulled his shirt off over his head Elizabeth continued "I took a deep breath and dived down, feeling along the sharp loose stones in the bed of the pool for the slot at the base of the wall in front. Finding it I hesitated. The roof of the underwater slot has a series of sharp ridges while the bottom comprises jagged stone leaving a gap little more than a foot high between them."

"I do know that" interrupted Dai.

"Of course, I forgot" she replied. "I came up for air but Huw inserted the end of that stick into my arse, he'd started getting into that sort of thing recently. He said it was so he could guide me, then he pushed my head back under the water towards the slot before I had taken a proper deep breath. I wriggled in and tried to pull myself forward but first the stone ridges grazed my arms and shoulders then my tits started snagging on the rocks below."

She paused to take the now almost empty bottle from Dai and empty the remaining contents down her throat. "The stupid bastard got carried away and pushed the stick forward as hard as he could. I was stuck with sharp bits of rock snagged on my ribs and tits but he forced that fucking stick right into me, the pain was excruciating it had gone straight in as far as it could then I felt something give way and my guts tearing near the small of my back, my whole belly filled with pain as my lungs emptied of air and started filling with water through my mouth." Elizabeth's naked body shuddered at the memory of that moment.

"I finally dragged myself free, the pinning rocks were tearing through my flesh, and emerged to break the surface of the water in the darkness of the chamber beyond. The stick must have been at least 15 inches inside me! I screamed and the screams echoed back to deafen me. I think it was only when he broke the surface of the water somewhere in the darkness alongside me and heard my screams that Huw realised what damage he had done to me. I tried to beat him off as he held me to him then I think I briefly lost consciousness as he reached down between my legs to extract the fucking stick.

"I felt him pulling away and panicked, I couldn't believe what he'd just done to me! I grabbed his legs and clung on furiously as he dived back into the sump. We had no torches of course and I think he too must have become disorientated, because he seemed to get stuck this time. My head was back under water but I groped up his thighs and grasped the waistband of his shorts, ripping them down with my left hand while my right hand grabbed his balls" she paused and stared into my eyes, tears streaming down her face.

"I squeezed and clawed at his genitals, trying to transfer the crippling pain from my arse and belly to him, not caring that I couldn’t breathe. He was kicking wildly at first, hitting me in the face making me gulp in water but his kicking became less directed and more spasmodic as I became dizzy and eventually had to let go and swim to the surface again. I crawled up out of the water and just lay there shivering, feeling warm blood trickling down my thighs. I was aware I would soon die if I stayed there so I steeled myself to dive through the cold water again. In the pitch black of the cave I was disorientated and it took me three attempts to find the slot in the base of the rock at the bottom of the pool to wriggle my way back out. Luckily it seems that I chose the correct route as I didn’t get too stuck, nor did I encounter Huw." Elizabeth paused, closing her eyes.

Dai waited patiently for her to continue "Was he dead then?"

Looking down avoiding Dai's stare she resumed "Huw's boots and shirt were still there, I waited. I put my t-shirt on but blood was still running down my wet thighs and I was scared. I was scared what would become of me, I could tell that the fucking stick had done terrible damage inside me. I wanted Hugh. Even though he had done this terrible thing to me I wanted him, he would make it better, somehow. But he didn’t come out, I stared at the dark still pool at the end of the cave but he didn’t come."

"Who found you?" asked Dai.

"I didn't try putting my panties and shorts back on, my arse felt as if it was burning and blood was still running down my legs. I put my shoes and t-shirt on and carried my shorts with me out of the cave and up the hill until I got a signal on my phone then I called the fire brigade."

"What about the ambulance" queried Dai.

"I knew he must be dead, I last saw him underwater and he never came out. But they did send an ambulance, waste of time really. The fire brigades breathing apparatus was too bulky, so the Cave Rescue lads were called out. I expect they found his body in two minutes" she snorted.

"But what about you?" Dai continued "Who got you to hospital? What have the doctors said?"

"Do you really think I could do that to Huw, even though he’s dead? Also my family have been caused enough disgrace in the past by my little sister and I could never face the shame myself anyway. I know enough biology to realise my large intestine must have been ripped right open and my small intestine mangled, he did force that stick up almost to my fucking heart you know! I can feel it must all be infected and rotting inside me inside ME" she reached for the wine bottle then, finding it empty hurled it across the room to smash against the panelling. "I've not eaten anything since, apart from pills, but my belly still fills with crap. There should be some more bottles under the bed, come on let's fucking party! And get those filthy trousers off, you've got my shit all down the front of them." Dai was shocked that she was actually smiling at him. He pulled out a dusty bottle of brandy from beneath the bed which he opened then handed to her, but she passed it back to him saying "If you get pissed you won't notice the smell so much."

After the pair of them had three quarters emptied the bottle between them she said "Please, stay here until the end. It can't be long now, I feel so weak from starving myself and my veins must contain more booze than blood by now."

Dai stood up and turned away, reaching for his soiled shirt.

"No! You can't leave me, please don't leave me. I've lost Huw, I can't lose you as well!" she pleaded swinging her legs off the bed onto the floor and shakily getting to her feet clinging onto the sturdy bed post for support.

Dai looked back at her pale thin contorted body, the big wall mirrors allowed him to view her pathetic nudity from three different angles. She reached out towards him with her left hand "Fuck me, fuck me now before it's too late" she entreated. "You always wanted to, I could tell the way you looked at me. I know how revolting I am now but if you get pissed enough you won't care!"

Hating himself, Dai dropped his trousers and gently caught her before she slid to the floor. After carefully laying her back on the damp, filthy bed he finished off the brandy. "Come on, fuck me!" she screamed impatiently "Hurt me, hit me, bite me!" she pleaded, grasping his arm tightly in her thin hand "Anything to make me feel something other than this continuous killing pain in my fucking belly, please ! Take revenge on me for killing you brother, fucking do something!" she sobbed, tears streaming down her face.

Instincts overcame Dai's better judgement and he climbed onto Elizabeth's bed and knelt straddling her, his knees sinking into the sticky soiled sheets.

"I killed your brother" she stated, slowly and deliberately. Dai pulled back his right arm and punched his fist into her stupid smiling face. He felt her nose crack beneath his knuckles and blood spurted down over her mouth as it opened. He felt his pelvis sink down onto her and he guided his steel hard cock into her moist cunt. She grabbed his back and pulled him violently down onto her frail body, sinking her untrimmed fingernails into his back.

"Bitch" he screamed inches from her blood splattered face, as he felt the stinging pain in his back and warm blood started to trickle down the side of his chest. He viciously thrust his cock as deep into her as he could, then almost withdrew I before thrusting deep again with all his weight behind his hips.

"Yes!" Elizabeth screamed, spittle and blood spraying his face, making him thrust harder and faster in an effort to hurt rather than pleasure her.

He came quickly, before she was anywhere near satisfied "I'm sorry" he pleaded as he rolled of her "I didn't mean to ."

"Have another drink and try again then" she implored, grabbing the back of his neck, but too weak to pull him towards her. Dai was shocked, he was ashamed at the violence he had unleashed yet she had thought he was apologising for finishing so soon!

He reached beneath the bed and grabbed another of the bottles, this time it was a bottle of Chateau Margaux which he opened and gulped straight from the bottle before handing the remaining two thirds to Elizabeth.

"More!" she pleaded, so he reached beneath the bed for another bottle. "No!" she shouted "Fuck me some more." Dai looked down at his limp penis. "Use your fingers, shove your hand in, just do me again!" Dai obediently inserted two, then three, fingers and, grasping her pubic bone with his thumb, started working them in and out, soon adding the fourth finger - stretching and thrusting until she came, arching her back and drawing in her stomach as more stinking fluid trickled from her distended anus to run back beneath her sprawled body.

The stench, the excessive alcohol and shame made Dai feel sick and dizzy. The room seemed to spin and Dai vomited over Elizabeth's limp sweaty torso before collapsing alongside her.

Dai must have slept for several hours before he awoke with his mouth dry and for several seconds had no idea where he was or what the stench was. Elizabeth lay sprawled indecently on her back alongside him, several flies crawling over her body feeding on the sweat and vomit, for a moment he thought she was dead but then saw her ribs rising and falling slowly. He noticed that her belly was again swollen and bloated. He was cold and he needed the toilet, as he opened the door onto the landing he was surprised to find that it was now dark outside and had to try several doors before he found the bathroom. He relieved himself and thankfully gulped down two or three glasses of water to slake his burning thirst, his head ached and he knew he ought to get away from this house immediately without looking back.

Dai went back into the bedroom, after breathing the fresher air outside the stink seemed even worse than he remembered. He pulled up a chair to face the bed and sat down, staring at Elizabeth's ruined body and ashamed that he was himself responsible for her swollen bloody face.

When she started to awake it was obvious to Dai that her attempt to roll on her side to face him was causing her pain. He made no attempt to help her but just watched her grimace as by reaching out to the bedpost she was able to drag herself up into a half sitting position. He was getting a hard on – it appalled him yet he just sat and stared at the total humiliation and degradation of this once beautiful woman. Her bloated abdomen revolted him, he remembered how stretched and hollow it had become as she writhed insanely earlier. Suddenly he realised she was staring it him too, more precisely she was staring at his now obscenely erect cock. It wasn’t just Elizabeth who was humiliated now!

"Get me a pen, paper and envelope from that bureau" she surprisingly commanded him. He didn’t move. She repeated the command and, puzzled he obeyed.

He asked her why she wanted them. She answered surprisingly clearly and calmly "It can't be long now, it can't be! As soon as I am dead get that jerry can from behind the caving gear in the corner. Soak this room and everything in it then set fire to this whole fucking mess!" She paused before continuing rather more shakily "I'm going to write a note, I've got to tell how I can't live without Huw, how I blame myself "

After she sealed the note she addressed it to her solicitor and handed it to Huw saying "Take it, say you visited me yesterday and I asked you to give it to him in the event of anything happening to me. I can't risk it being destroyed in the fire if I leave it here "

As Dai took her in his arms he realised his erection had vanished and that there were tears in his eyes. With a shock he realised that her attention was also focussed on his cock for her delicate fingers had started caressing it. He pulled himself away from, confused by his own feelings. She pulled her hand back, then clasped both hands across her swollen belly. Uncertain what she expected of him Dai wondered should he squash her abdomen again, should he try to rid her disrupted belly of the foul fluids again building up within it. He realised he wanted to squeeze it or punch it, as if pushing her back into shape would make everything alright again.

"No!" she screamed at his suggestion. "I couldn't stand that again. It needs to run out " she looked around the room. "Hang me up, hang me on that frame, that's what Huw built it for."

Dai looked across the room, horrified yet feeling a slight thril at the idea.

"Crucify me!" she hoarsely implored him.

Without being invited this time, Dai reached beneath the bed for another bottle, it was another Brandy, which they recklessly drank from as Dai studied the frame.

"Get me up there" she pleaded, her eyes dark yet shining beneath the sweat soaked straggly hair hanging over her face as she leaned towards him.

Elizabeth's wasted body was so light it was easy for Dai to lift her up to stand compliantly, if shakily, on the chair, resting her head back against the wall as he bound her wrists to iron rings at the top corners, hurrying to get her secure before her legs crumpled beneath her.

Once secured he stepped down and carefully pulled the chair away so that her stretched arms took her entire weight but though her belly drew in slightly as her rib cage was expanded upwards only a small trickle of reddish brown fluid ran down the inside of her thighs.

"OK you can crush the shit out of me now. Go on, you know you want to" she gasped.

Dai tenderly placed a hand tenderly on the swelling below her ribs which so repulsed him.

"Push it!" she desperately panted.

"It will hurt, it hurt last time" Dai replied, placing his other hand alongside the first one "Do you want some more codeine, take the rest of the packet "

"Just hurry up and fucking push!" she screamed, the effort making her thin arms tense as she struggled to contract her strained rib cage so that she could take another breath.

Dai took a small step back then leaned forwards pushing hard with his hands. The swelling just squished out sideways so he spread his hands slightly and swung his full weight behind them. She threw her head back and uttered a strange high pitched scream, as she lifted and spread her knees almost hitting him in the face a second before he felt his hands sink deep into her belly and a revolting glutinous brown mess was squirted down the wall between her legs.

Dai sank to his knees still staring up at her with tears forming in his eyes. She was still and her eyes were closed, but then he noticed that her ribs still slightly rose and fell. Getting back to his feet he brushed away a fly as it settled on one of the glistening beads of sweat no trickling down her flattened abdomen. She groaned and lifted her head a little, staring straight at him with dark glistening eyes.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" Dai stammered, his face reddening in shame as her gaze moved down to his erect member. "I can't help it, what can I do!" he cried.

"Fuck me. Fuck me now! Fuck me hard!" she implored, her unnaturally wide dark eyes again staring deep into his. "Quick, before it's too late, do it NOW!"

Dai hurriedly retrieved the chair again placing it in front of her and pushed his by now throbbing cock between her wet labia then thrust deep into her. She screamed again but thrust her pelvis violently towards him. He thrust again and again, then the intense orgasm spread from his groin to envelop his whole body in a way he had never experienced before. The electrifying elation didn't flow away as usual but seemed to flow up and down his body while his cock felt as though it was swelling further and might explode deep inside her irregularly quivering body.

Screaming, Elizabeth threw her head back then arched her body away from the wall, the pale perspiring skin stretched revealingly tight across her over expanded ribs above her knotted abdominal muscles. Her hips pushed Dai back off the chair so that he had to grab her bony shoulders as his feet slipped off it.

Regaining his balance, oblivious to the grazes to his shins from the chair, he looked back up at her. To his surprise she was still staring at him "Oh my God, what have I done to you?" he hoarsely cried.

She didn't reply, as he stood back up her eyes didn't follow him, a couple of flies settled on her face, one on the still trickle of blood beneath her nose, the other crawling into the side of her slightly open mouth. Outraged Dai slapped at them, her now lank hair fell across her face but she made no other movement. He stared at her motionless chest, then stepped back to sit on the bottom of the bed staring at her exquisitely displayed body. Further flies settled, attracted to the now drying sweat but he just watched them. For at least an hour he continued to be transfixed by the obscenely revealing carcass hanging by its stretched emaciated arms.

As he drove away with his last image of her etched on his mind, a her pale wracked body glistening with the petrol he had doused it in, he struggled to keep on the narrow road. At the junction with the main road at the top of the hill he stopped and looked back. The orange glow of the sun just rising in the east appeared to be reflected by the downstairs windows of the rambling grey house, but he knew that there would probably be little left once the flames reached the petrol soaked bedroom. Desperate to strip off his sticky stinking clothes and take a bath or shower he turned away and drove on home without looking back again.

When Elizabeth's solicitor phoned and asked Dai to come back to his office the day after he had, as she had instructed, handed him the sealed envelope he felt a rising sense of dread. As Mr Williams's secretary ushered him into his office he was relieved to see that the solicitor was, at least, alone.

"Mr Griffiths, do you know what was in that letter you were asked to give me?" the soicitor asked.

"I rather guessed as soon as I heard about the fire, she didn't seem to have got over Huw's death at all when I visited her." Dai said quietly, adding "I don't think she had left the house after the funeral."

"Yes, the Fire Brigade say the fire was certainly started deliberately, there seems to have been petrol involved. And Jones the Shop who had been delivering to her had apparently called the Police a few days earlier, concerned about her state of mind, but there was nothing they could do" agreed Mr Williams "But she didn't tell you what else she had written then?"

"No" replied Dai with a sinking feeling.

"Mrs Griffiths wrote a new will on the back of the suicide note. It appears she has left everything to you. Of course it is unlikely that the insurance company will pay up on the house, given the circumstances, but your brother did have a lot of stocks and investments, I can't say exactly how much the estate will be at the moment "

Dai would have liked to avoid the funeral. Particularly in view of Elizabeth's will he dreaded meeting her family but it was impossible or him not to attend. He was also aware that it was uncertain exactly how much of the ashes and bits of bone that had been scraped together to put in the coffin was actually Elizabeth.

As it seemed he was the last person to see her alive he was bombarded by questions. Elizabeth's younger sister Louisa seemed to take a particularly morbid interest in the details of her sibling's death, she even wanted to visit the ruins of Tyllwm Fawr to see where she had died. Her mother kept berating herself for not attending Huw's funeral, she was convinced that had she seen Elizabeth's distress she could have persuaded her to return to Monaco with them instead of her remaining alone in that gloomy isolated house.

Elizabeth's brother, Guy, rescued him from their unwanted attention and apologised for Louisa's behaviour. He drunkenly confided that she was nothing like her intelligent sensible sister, but had been something of a wild child when young, with learning and behavioural difficulties. At the age of fifteen she had to be quietly persuaded to have an abortion and later had been referred to a psychiatrist because of her self harming. Her parents were absolutely delighted when after expensive and difficult training in etiquette and further psychiatric treatment a heir to a baronetcy had actually proposed to her! However just over a week after her wedding to the handsome, if impoverished, aristocrat he had persuaded her parents to find a way to have the wedding, which had taken place overseas, annulled; he threatened that otherwise he would bring charges against her for assault, actual bodily harm and false imprisonment on several occasions during their honeymoon.

The next day Dai drove Louisa out to the ruined remains of Tyllwm Fawr. Standing inside the blackened stone walls, crunching over the fallen pieces of slate, looking up at the huge bleak chimneys pointing skyward she suddenly turned to Dai saying "Is all this really yours now?"

Dai nodded silently, looking down at her pale face illuminated by the moonlight.

"I love these walls made of huge stones" she said, running her hands over them, getting them covered in soot, then caressing the ancient masonry so that her red t-shirt bore dark smudges highlighting where her breasts had pressed against the blackened stones.

"They were mostly covered in oak panelling, inside" explained Dai. "some of it was quite beautifully made, and very old."

"I think the bare stones look nicer, a bit like a castle" said Louisa, looking round. "You could even make a room like a dungeon, with chains fixed to the walls and barred windows and " she enthused, biting her lower lip and staring straight at Dai with intense dark glistening eyes, before looking down at her soiled top. "This needs washing before I go back to Mummy and Daddy" she said in mock distress. "That cave with the pool in it isn't far away, I wanted to see where your brother died and I could wash it there. It will be dry before you get me back to the hotel in Swansea".

Dai had already decided that he never wanted to go to Ogof Gwaindynngwlyb ever again, but now he no longer cared about that resolution as he furtively looked at Louisa's tanned torso as she leaned over the pool washing her shirt then gaped as she brazenly stood and turned to face him with her little breasts bouncing as she shook the water off it.

Louisa didn't return to Monaco with her parents.

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